Flooring plays a big role in a restaurant setting. As one interior element that touches every single customer and every staff member, and one that has major implications for aesthetics, acoustics and safety, the selected material must perform well on many levels and do so in high-traffic settings with minimal maintenance.

Whether specifying for a fast-casual or white-tablecloth restaurant, today’s flooring materials offer a wide range of products and price points. And meeting some of the toughest challenges in the category — especially with regard to balancing aesthetics, maintenance and durability — is now easier than ever. That’s thanks in part to classic standbys but also to newer products in the category, such as porcelain tile and LVT (luxury vinyl tile) products that mimic wood, marble and concrete. Both in quality and affordability, many designers and operators alike say such products are game changers.

“Some of the faux finishes, like porcelain tile that looks like wood, are now so realistic. They’re less expensive, super-durable and never need refinishing. It’s hard to say no to that stuff,” notes Cass Calder Smith, founding principal at CCS Architecture, with offices in San Francisco and New York. He made her comments earlier this year as part of rd+d’s annual Designers Dish! Story.

Beyond offering more resilient, durable, realistic-looking alternatives, designers can customize these products, which translates to tremendous design versatility. The upshot: Restaurants can install high quality, durable and attractive flooring that is also uniquely in keeping with a particular theme or design aesthetic.

Regardless of materials selected, three key flooring selection tips to keep in mind include:

  1. Performance, slip resistance, and ease of cleaning and maintenance remain paramount in restaurant settings. Beauty without functionality is a recipe for failure and accidents.
  2. Consider the staff. Concrete or other hard flooring materials might look great for your concept and to seated guests but are tough on employees, who can log miles in an average shift.
  3. Proper installation is critical so be proactive. Provide your contractor/subcontractor with all necessary information from the flooring manufacturer on exactly what installation products and techniques they need to use. Follow up to make sure the contractor adheres to those guidelines. Guesswork on the part of subs can lead to major mishaps and costly do-overs.

altro1Stylish, Low-Maintenance LVT

Altro Lavencia provides a low-maintenance LVT option for front-of-house applications. Available in 45 films ranging from classic wood tones to coordinating stones, brights and modern organic looks, Lavencia is appropriate for high-traffic areas. It features a commercial-grade UV-cured urethane finish and a 28-mil wear layer. The square-edged construction prevents hidden contaminants from food and beverage spills, and its easy-to-clean surface requires no additional finish.


armstrong1Dent-, Water-Resistant Advantage

Rigid Core Vantage can reduce the visual impact of everyday drops, spills and furniture slides. Features include a waterproof structure and a solid polymer core that provides dent resistance. Planks won’t swell, buckle or lose integrity when exposed to water, and a 20-mil urethane wear layer protects against scratches and stains, per the maker. Thanks to its dimensional stability, installers don’t need to acclimate Rigid Core Vantage in most installations, which may mean floors can be installed faster.

Armstrong Flooring

artaic1Modern Mosaics

The Verge mosaic tile collection from Artaic presents a modern interpretation of traditional geometric patterns found in woven, beaded and block-printed textiles. Verge offers fully customizable field and feature tile pairing solutions that give design projects a consistent, cohesive aesthetic. The series’ mural-like (feature) designs and simplistic (field) designs often have three or fewer colors and complement one another in adjacent applications or in spaces throughout a project. The collection designs are also available in natural stone, sintered glass and vitreous glass.


aspecta1Geometry Meets Biophilia

Aspecta Ten Tilt & Tones flooring collection pairs geometric- and biophilia-inspired Tilt tiles with the neutral, stone-inspired Tones tile palette to achieve custom looks. The 24-inch square tiles are presented in four color groups, each consisting of four unique, angular Tilt tile designs that can pair with 2 companion Tones tiles. Together, they are a random motif that creates playful, unique designs for restaurant and hospitality settings. Available in both dryback/glue-down and rigid-core formats.


metroflor2A Magnetic Attraction

Licensed from Magnetic Building Solutions (MBS), the Attraxion-branded LVT enables quicker installation by creating a magnetic attachment utilizing MBS MagneBuild magnetic underlayment and eliminating the need for locking systems or adhesives. Combine the variety of pre-cut shapes to achieve custom designs. Unique layouts include starbursts, chevron and basket weaves.


villa lagoon cuban 1The Cuban Collection

Villa Lagoon Tile’s new Cuban Collection, inspired by the island’s rich architectural beauty, offers authentic Cuban cement tile patterns and color combinations. The tiles are available in 20 patterns presented in colorways that match or emulate those seen on historical Cuban floors and walls. The cement tile collection is also available in any of Villa Lagoon Tile’s 85 standard colors, and colors can be easily customized as well. Similar to natural stone, each cement tile is unique, with slight color variations. Installing cement tiles is similar to installing natural stone, with tighter grout lines and use of a sealant after the tiles are set.

Villa Lagoon Tile